Boxing Insider Notebook: Roy Jones, Yarde, Kovalev, Beterbiev, Gvozdyk, Imam, and more…

Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of August 13th to August 20th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Unbeaten Champions Beterbiev and Gvozdyk Set to Unify Titles October 18th in Philadelphia

Two very bad men are set for an old-fashioned Philadelphia throwdown.

WBC light heavyweight world champion Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk and IBF light heavyweight world champion Artur Beterbiev will fight in a highly anticipated title unification bout Friday, Oct. 18 at the Liacouras Center.

Beterbiev and Gvozdyk enter this can’t-miss clash with a combined record of 31-0 with 28 knockouts.

Gvozdyk-Beterbiev will headline a special edition of Top Rank on ESPN beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

The undercard will stream live on ESPN+ — the industry-leading sports streaming service — beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Peltz Boxing, tickets priced at $150, $90, $75 and $50 (not including applicable fees) go on sale Friday, Aug. 23 at 12 p.m. ET and can be purchased at the Liacouras Center Box Office, www.liacourascenter.com or charge by phone at 800-298-4200.

“This could very well be the fight of the year,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “These are two evenly matched, undefeated light heavyweight champions. There is nothing better in the sport of boxing.”

“My first goal was to win a light heavyweight world title. Now, I want to unify the belts, and that mission starts with Artur Beterbiev,” Gvozdyk said. “This is going to be a spectacular fight, one that the fans will enjoy. The fans asked for this fight, and we will deliver. One thing I know is that I will be the unified champion. I have the best trainer, Teddy Atlas, in my corner. This is our third fight together, and under his guidance, I will continue to get better.”

“I wish to thank Top Rank and my opponent, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, for making this unification bout possible and giving the fans around the world what they want,” Beterbiev said. “This will be a great fight between the two champions who aspire to become the undisputed light heavyweight world champion. I am looking forward to stepping into the ring on October 18.”

Gvozdyk (17-0, 14 KOs) will be making the second defense of the title he won from longtime champion Adonis Stevenson in a come-from-behind 11th-round KO last December in Quebec City, Canada. He followed up the Stevenson win with a dominant fifth-round TKO March 30 over Doudou Ngumbu in Philadelphia, where a large Ukrainian contingent showed up to cheer on their countryman. Gvozdyk captured a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, where he was teammates with current professional stablemate and pound-for-pound great Vasiliy Lomachenko. A five-year pro, Gvozdyk climbed the ranks with victories over established veterans like Isaac Chilemba, Yunieski Gonzalez and Nadjib Mohammedi.

Beterbiev (14-0, 14 KOs), a former Russian amateur star, has a come-forward, take-no-prisoners ring approach that has made him the only current world champion with a 100 percent KO ratio. He won the vacant IBF world title with a 12th-round TKO over Enrico Koelling, preserving his perfect KO record by stopping Koelling with 27 seconds left in the bout. His two title defenses have lasted a total of nine rounds, and most recently, he walked through longtime contender Radivoje “Hot Rod“ Kalajdzic in five rounds in the main event of the May 4 Top Rank on ESPN telecast.

Amir Imam Signs with Top Rank

Amir Imam, a former super lightweight world challenger known for his explosive knockouts, has signed a multi-year promotional agreement with Top Rank.

Imam (21-2, 18 KOs) has been out of the ring since March 17, 2018, the evening he challenged Jose Ramirez for the vacant WBC super lightweight world title. He lost via unanimous decision in a brutal toe-to-toe battle to Ramirez, who is currently the unified WBC/WBO 140-pound world champion.

Imam will campaign at either super lightweight or welterweight, and he recently enlisted the services of South Florida-based manager Peter Kahn. He is expected to make his long-awaited ring return later this year.

“I am grateful to have joined the best promotional company in boxing. I have learned a lot from my past fights and have made positive changes that will allow me to succeed as I move forward to my goal of becoming a world champion,” Imam said. “I’m eager to get back into the ring before the end of the year and showcase my skills as part of the Top Rank team. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for me.”

“Amir Imam is a naturally gifted fighter who can best be defined as potential unrealized to this point in his career,” Kahn said. “He has the physical and mental tools to be a world champion. He’s a perfect fit for Top Rank. Whether Amir continues to campaign at super lightweight or welterweight remains to be seen, but the fans will see a rejuvenated, well-prepared Amir who is on a mission to be a world champion.”

Imam, from Albany, New York, knocked out 12 out of his first 13 opponents in the paid ranks, and won an eight-round unanimous decision in 2014 over Yordenis Ugas, who is currently one of the welterweight division’s top contenders. He scored highlight-reel knockouts over Jason Robinson and Fidel Maldonado before being stopped in shocking fashion by Adrian Granados in 2015. Imam rebounded with three consecutive knockout wins before locking horns with Ramirez in a memorable clash at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Carlos Takam Signs with Star Boxing

Star Boxing is excited to officially announce the signing of distinguished heavyweight title contender CARLOS TAKAM (36-5-1 28KO’s) of France, by way of Douala, Cameroon. Standing at 6’3″, the heavy handed, Takam has taken on some of the best in the business, in the heavyweight division. Star Boxing revealed the signing last week on its social media platforms.

Takam was an amateur standout in Cameroon. In 2003, he competed in the All-African Games in Nigeria, finishing with a bronze medal. In 2004, Takam qualified for the Athens, Greece Summer Olympics by earning Gold at the AIBA African Olympic Qualifying tournament in Morocco. Later that year, representing his native country of Cameroon, Takam fought in the Summer Olympic games in Athens, Greece, making it to the sweet sixteen.

Turning pro in 2005, just one year after the Olympics, Takam was an immediate force to be reckoned with in the heavyweight division. After securing a record of 23-1 with 18KO’s, Takam defeated GBENGA OLUOKUN (then 18-5 12KO’s) by TKO to earn his first professional title, becoming the WBO International African Heavyweight Champion. Since then, Takam has held multiple titles, including the WBC Silver World Championship, the IBF Intercontinental Championship, and the WBF World Championship.

From 2011 on, Takam fought a gruesome list of boxing’s best heavyweights which include, heavyweight world title challengers, FRANS BOTHA (then 48-6-3 29KO’S), MICHAEL GRANT (then 48-7 36KO’S), TONY THOMPSON (then 39-4 27KO’s), JOSEPH PARKER (Then 18-0 16KO’s), DERECK CHISORA (then 28-8 21KO’s) as well as former world champion, ALEXANDER POVETKIN (then 27-1 20KO’s). In 2017, Takam challenged ANTHONY JOSHUA (19-0 19KO’s) in the biggest, bout of his career, for the WBA, IBF and IBO World Heavyweight Titles.

In Takam’s last bout in December 2018, he defeated German prospect, SENAD GASHI (then 17-1 17KO’s) who was favored in the bout. Gashi was a 5x Saarland Champion, 2x Gold International Boxing champion, 2x Gold German Open champion, amongst many other accolades in the amateurs. The bout took place at the 02 Arena in London, ending in a seventh round TKO victory for Takam.

Takam said this about signing with Star Boxing, “I’m very happy to sign with Joe and Star Boxing. It’s almost one year now I’m free agent. I didn’t sign with any promoter. I have had several propositions on the table, but with Joe [DeGuardia], the way I see, I have good feeling that we can achieve my potential together. I have big ambition in boxing for these coming years. Because I was taking my time looking around before to make any decision. I am ready to do the job.”

Manager of Carlos Takam, DWIGHT YARDE, had this to say about the opportunities that are ahead for Team Takam with Star Boxing, “Exciting times in the heavyweight division! I have known Joe [DeGuardia] for some 20 years and truly believe he is the man to take Team Takam to the heavyweight title. With Carlos’ ability as a fighter, nothing can stop us now. Heavyweight division watch out – we are coming.”

Star Boxing CEO, JOE DEGUARDIA said this about the signing of Takam, “Carlos is a world class heavyweight who has faced some of the best in the division. Throughout boxing history, the heavyweight division has always cultivated the most buzz, and that buzz is back.” DeGuardia continued, “I think highly of Carlos. The hard-core boxing experts know how good he is, but now he will show the casual fans and will surprise many as to how good he can still be. We are really excited to bring some big things to the table for him, and are confident that a heavyweight championship of the world bout is in his future.”

Kovalev-Yarde Headlines Special Afternoon of Boxing on ESPN+

WBO light heavyweight champion and future Hall of Famer Sergey Kovalev will face off against his hard-hitting mandatory challenger, Anthony Yarde, in a highly anticipated showdown Saturday, Aug. 24 from Traktor Arena in Kovalev’s hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia.

Kovalev-Yarde will stream live and exclusively in the United States on ESPN+, the leading multi-sport streaming service, beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT. The stream will also showcase the co-feature bout between unbeaten cruiserweight contender Aleksei Papin (11-0, 10 KOs) and former world title challenger Ilunga Makabu (25-2, 24 KOs). Fans in the U.S. can sign up at www.ESPNplus.com or on the ESPN App.

“I am thrilled to fight for the first time in my hometown of Chelyabinsk,” Kovalev said. “It is a dream to defend my WBO title in front of all my friends and family back home. I am also thankful ESPN+ will show the fight to my fans in the U.S. Thank you to Igor Altushkin, Egis Klimas, Main Events and Top Rank for making this dream a reality, and thank you to Anthony Yarde for agreeing to fight in my home.”

“Sergey has done just about everything a professional fighter can do, other than fight in his own hometown,” said promoter Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events. “One of the sport’s greatest road warriors, Sergey will finally get the chance to salute his legion of fans in Chelyabinsk, where he grew up. It will be an exciting, long overdue homecoming for Sergey. And I am so happy to confirm that Sergey’s many fans in the U.S. will be able to watch this great event only on ESPN+. I wish to thank Igor Altushkin, German Titov and everyone at RCC for making this all possible. I also wish to thank Bob Arum and Top Rank for their continued support.”

Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) is a veteran of 15 world title bouts and has won the light heavyweight world title on three occasions. A former unified champion, he revived his career in February by scoring a wide points win over Eleider Alvarez, the man who’d knocked him out less than six months prior. One of this generation’s most decorated champions, Kovalev holds victories over Jean Pascal, Nathan Cleverly and living legend Bernard Hopkins. In Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs), he faces a London native with a giant hand who is taking a giant step up in competition. Yarde has won his last 16 bouts by knockout, most recently stopping Travis Reeves in five rounds in a bout that streamed on ESPN+. This will be only his second pro bout outside of England.

Roy Jones Junior Boxing Announces Deal with Eldorado Group to Co-Promote Multiple Installments on UFC Fight Pass

Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions has reached an exclusive agreement with Eldorado Group to co-promote multiple installments of “RJJ Boxing on UFC FIGHT PASS®,” commencing October 25 with Joey Gilbert Promotions in Reno, Nevada.

The Oct. 25th show in Reno will be streamed live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports, starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT, from a venue to be determined.

“Everyone has seen all the excitement the Eldorado Group has going on,” RJJ Boxing CEO and Co-Founder Keith Veltre said. “Signing a deal of this magnitude is sending a strong message to the public that Eldorado Group wants to deliver the best in combat sports to its customers. Adding Joey Gilbert as a co-promoter only adds to the growing excitement RJJ Boxing Promotions has in the store for the future. Joey is a massive asset to what we are doing. Roy and I are super happy that he’s part of the team.”

In addition to being a combat sports promoter, Gilbert is a criminal defense and personal injury lawyer in Reno, as well as a sports agent and motivational speaker. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Nevada, where he was an outstanding amateur boxer, double majoring in English Literature and Political Science, and he went on to graduate from Thomas Jefferson Law School in San Diego.

Now retired as a boxer, Gilbert fought professionally from 2000-2010, compiling a 20-3 (15 KOs) record. He gained tremendous exposure participating in popular reality television series, The Contender, Season One.

“I am thrilled to bring professional boxing back to Reno,” CEO Joey Gilbert commented. “Reno has always been a fight town. I benefitted from this as both an amateur and professional fighter. I am beyond delighted to be involved in this endeavor with Roy Jones, Jr., who I have always held in such high regard, and looked up to as a fighter.

“I have been thoroughly impressed with the RJJ Boxing executive team and CEO Keith Veltre, who certainly produces one of the highest-quality and exciting boxing shows that I have ever seen. Together with UFC FIGHT PASS, we will absolutely impress and exceed expectations of all local fight fans, and The Row will be hosting this exciting opportunity. This will be one of many new fighting opportunities for our community to enjoy. I am excited that Eldorado Resorts International threw its proverbial hat in the ring to support this program. It’s safe to say that I can see this being the first fight series of many across numerous El Dorado International properties in the United States.”

The fight card will be announced at a future date.

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Stipe Miocic Reclaims UFC Heavyweight title in Fourth Round TKO of Cormier

By: Jesse Donathan

Stipe Miocic is the new UFC heavyweight champion of the world, scoring a fourth-round technical knockout victory over Daniel Cormier at UFC 241 in the Honda Center of Anaheim, California Saturday night. The final volley an impressive display of pure boxing technique that left no doubt who the baddest man in the world truly is.

Cormier was supposed to be retired by now, having previously vowed to hang his gloves up by the age of 40 before somehow finding the inspiration to fight on. Prior to Saturday night, Cormier would have walked away from the sport the defending UFC heavyweight champion who had captured the title against the sports only three time defending UFC heavyweight champion in Stipe Miocic, while simultaneously having held the UFC light heavyweight title prior to relinquishing the belt at UFC 232 to his eventual successor Jon Jones.

Just after Cormier’s crushing defeat Saturday night, the longtime Cormier nemesis Jones, who has a storied history with the now former champion, took to social media to praise the victorious Miocic, stating, “Stipe is hands down the greatest heavyweight of all time. I have nothing else to say.” Apparently changing his mind, looking to kick Cormier whilst he is down, Jones would later going on to remark, “I guess losses don’t matter when you’re getting paid so much on the front end.”

The front end of course, an apparent response to an August 12, 2019 social media post from Cormier whom had stated, “Of course he (Jones) wants to fight me, he’s fought 3 times this year and I’m gonna make more this weekend than he will even if he fights again this year lmao. O, how times have changed!”

Cormier was reportedly paid $4 million dollars for his lone title defense against challenger Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 in 2018 according to an MMAMania.com report, meaning even though Cormier sacrificed immense bragging rights and pride in defeat Saturday night the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) representative must feel he is well taken care of by the organization.

In an August 18, 2019 MMAFighting.com article titled, “UFC 241 salaries: Stipe Miocic wins back heavyweight title, cashes biggest payday on entire card,” author Damon Martin writes, “Following a fourth-round knockout against Daniel Cormier in the main event, Miocic was paid an event high $750,000 according to salaries released by the California State Athletic Commission in a message to MMA Fighting on Sunday.” According to Martin, “Miocic didn’t receive a win bonus but rather a flat $750,000 fee while also taking home an additional $50,000 for ‘Performance of the Night’ for his stunning comeback victory to reclaim the UFC heavyweight title.”

Martin would go on to write, “Daniel Cormier left with the second biggest payday on the card as the now former heavyweight champion (and) was paid $500,000 as a flat fee for his performance.”

Incidentally, MMAFighting.com’s Damon Martin reported back in July of this year that Jones was set to receive an event high $500,000 for his split decision victory over Thiago Santos at UFC 239. With sponsorship opportunities inside the Octagon limited according to MMAFighting.com’s Marc Raimondi, Daniel Cormier may not be teaching Calculus anytime, but he is apparently bringing home the bacon. With both Jones and Cormier reportedly receiving $500,000 pay days at UFC 239 and UFC 241 respectively, Cormier’s algebraic expressions on social media are food for thought and unfortunately only leave more questions than answers.

Round One
The first round at UFC 241 Miocic vs. Cormier 2 started off with both fighters exchanging leg kicks, if it wasn’t for the fact the 5-foot-11 Cormier actually came into this fight six pounds heavier (236.5) than Stipe (230.5), I wouldn’t blame some fans from being under the mistaken impression the 6-foot-5 Miocic appeared to be the much bigger man in the Octagon. The fighters would exchange powerful leg kicks before Cormier fired off another leg kick that grazed Miocic’s cup, momentarily bringing a halt to the action as both fighters acknowledged the low blow in fair play by touching gloves.

In what was likely part of the game plan coming into the fight, Cormier would again return back to the leg kicks, scoring a powerful blow that noticeably buckled Miocic. Attempting to fight his way into the clinch, Cormier would lunge in with a failed attempted over hook, the same technique Daniel had chained together in finishing Miocic in their original matchup back in 2018. Unsuccessful as Miocic circled out, Cormier would club Stipe with a pair of hooks that got the firefighters attention.

Cormier would again hit with Miocic with a straight right that was all business before fighting for a single leg takedown attempt, eventually securing the hold and lifting Miocic up into the air, carrying the former heavyweight champions weight for 8-10 seconds before dumping Stipe to the mat and landing in dominant top position.

Immediately looking to improve his position to pound Miocic into unconsciousness, Stipe would grab Cormier’s wrists, two hands on Cormier’s one lone limb, stifling the champions ability to strike. Displaying his Brazilian Jiu-jitsu chops, Miocic would go on to make his way to guard, Cormier content to lay in top position pounding away at Stipe’s body as just over a minute remained in the round.

Cormier would work the body, occasionally mixing in head shots before eventually standing up and looking to attack, creating a scramble which enabled Miocic to make his way back to his knees, eventually standing himself before the bell sounding to mark the end of the first five minutes of action. It was a 10-9 round for Cormier in a high paced competitive fight that saw both fighters put in work as the end of the round drew to a close.

Round Two
The second round would initially start off tentatively with both fighters exchanging leg kicks before Miocic began to open up with superior boxing technique against the American Kickboxing Academy representative, looking rather impressive in the stand-up department early on. The two would begin to open up, both fighters landing on one another in an entertaining affair that Stipe must have been getting the better of because out of nowhere Cormier lands an open gloved technique that raked Miocic’s eye, which referee Herb Dean apparently ruled legal, as he refused to intervene, the fight continuing despite Miocic being noticeably concerned with the apparent foul.

Upon instant replay, the technique appeared to be deliberate and with malicious intent, an attempt to eye gouge Miocic’s eye in a very reminiscent scene to their first encounter at UFC 226, which directly led to Miocic losing his title to Cormier by knockout.

Miocic appeared to even put his hand out in another good will gesture in acknowledgment of a foul, only to be answered with a stiff one, two for his efforts. With his back to the wall, Miocic would land an uppercut and fight his way out of a tight situation along the fence against a Daniel Cormier who was prepared to win at all costs.

The fighters would again begin to slug it out, the crowd noticeably enjoying the action in a competitive fight between the two elite heavyweights. The horn would sound to mark the end of the second round in a very entertaining main event showcase that saw Cormier edge Miocic in a close 10-9 round by my judges score card.

Round Three
The third round would initially start off slow once again, reminiscent of the previous round, before Stipe would begin to touch Cormier up with well placed, surgically placed strikes. Cormier would again begin to advance with an open gloved approach on Miocic, at one point even drawing a warning from referee Dean about the seemingly on-going issue. Cormier would begin working the jab, scoring with alarming regularity and effectiveness, Miocic noticeably bothered by his right eye as he checked it mid-fight. With three minutes left in the third, Miocic would pin Cormier up against the cage for a meaningful period of time in a surprising show of physical dominance and wrestling ability. Eventually making their way off the fence, the fighters would duke it out along the perimeter of the cage.

With under a minute in the third, the fighters made their way to the center of the Octagon exchanging blows tit-for-tat, too exhausted to do much else but stand in front of one another and bang away. The horn would sound marking the end to another close five minutes of action, unfortunately for Miocic, perhaps another 10-9 round once again for Cormier.

Round Four
If this wasn’t a five round championship fight, Daniel Cormier would have won a three round unanimous decision victory over Miocic, but unfortunately for the now former heavyweight champion it just wasn’t to be. Marking the start of the championship rounds in round four, Miocic would stalk Cormier around the outside of the cage before the predator-prey like scenario would momentarily switch roles with Cormier going on the hunt. Making their way back to the center of the Octagon, the action noticeably slowing from both fighters, the two would paw at each other throughout much of the round with Miocic looking to work the body on the tiring Cormier with repeated left hands that seemed to find their mark with increasing regularity.

Continuing to work the body and remaining elusive, seemingly finding his second wind, Stipe would begin to force Cormier to chase him around the Octagon. With Miocic’s superior conditioning beginning to shine through, his boxing technique appearing crisp and his legs fresh, Stipe would begin piecing the former two-time Olympian and UFC heavyweight champion up with skull numbing shots.

The end ultimately coming after another surgically placed left hook smashed into Cormier’s fire hydrant like body, followed up with a stinging one-two down the middle that found their mark. Miocic would turn the corner as Cormier was sent fleeing for safety, only to be trapped against the chain link fence with Stipe giving chase, sending the now former champion crashing to the canvas in a heil of punches. The referee, Herb Dean, rushing in to force a halt to the action before Cormier took any further damage. Miocic was the new heavyweight champion of the world, even dancing in a very Valentina Shevchenko like fashion in celebration of another impression performance by the most elite fighter in the UFC heavyweight division.

The main event at UFC 241 was a serious fist fight that saw Daniel Cormier bring everything and the kitchen sink into the Octagon in an effort to maintain his seat at the UFC heavyweight throne. A reality in combat sports, despite Cormier vs Miocic 2 being a highly competitive fight, there are inevitably going to be winners and losers. With the series tied at one win a piece, its not out of the question to suggest a rematch may be on the horizon despite Cormier taking note of his second career stoppage loss at the UFC 241 post-fight press conference in reflection of defeat. The option of hanging his gloves up for good and retiring clearly on the table.

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Mayweather Dispels Rumors Of Pacquiao Rematch

By: Sean Crose

“That’s an old video,” Floyd Mayweather tells FightHype in a video that was released Sunday. “At the end of the day, there’s no talk about me and Manny Pacquiao fighting a rematch.” Although Mayweather is never seen discussing the matter in the FightHype video, both the voice and subject matter appear to match up with the wild speculation that made its way across the fight world this past weekend when a video emerged of Mayweather discussing a rematch with Pacquiao in Saudi Arabia. “It’s an honor to come to Saudi Arabia to sit down and talk with your guys about the Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch,” Mayweather says in a clip making the rounds.

Mayweather fought Pacquiao, after much delay, in a 2015 superfight that broke financial records, but that left many fight fans wanting. Ultimately, the match didn’t prove to be much more than the standard, one sided affair most Mayweather fights looked like (though Pacquiao clearly had his moments). Since that time, there’s been intermittent talk of the two men fighting again, even though the first fight proved to be a very lucrative disappointment. What’s more, Mayweather is now essentially retired, while Pacquiao has gone on to a career resurgence sine surprising many by besting Keith Thurman earlier this summer.

Mayweather, who has made it clear on several occasions that he’s no fan of the Filipino icon, referred to Pcaquiao in a negative light again in Sunday’s FightHype video. According to Mayweather, a rematch is pretty much pointless. “All they (team Pacquiao) are going to do is have an excuse (should Mayweather win again). Excuse after excuse.” Mayweather further indicates that he takes offense to the fact that Pacquiao said he had a shoulder injury during their 2015 bout. “A real champion,” says Mayweather, “he takes his wins like a man, he takes his losses like a man.”

“As far as me and Manny Pacquiao,” Mayweather concludes, “as of right now, there will never be a rematch.” Should a second Mayweather-Pacquiao fight actually ever come to fruition, it would presumably have to happen soon, as both Mayweather and Pacquiao are now in their 40s, no small thing in the world of boxing. With Mayweather having gone without facing legitimate competition (unless you count Conor McGregor, who Mayweather stopped in a highly hyped and lucrative novelty bout two years ago) since 2015, it may be unlikely that a second throwdown between he and arch nemesis Pacquiao will come to pass.

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Mayweather Video Has Rumors Of Second Pacquiao Fight Swirling

By: Sean Crose

“It’s an honor to come to Saudi Arabia to sit down and talk with your guys about the Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch,” Floyd Mayweather says to the camera in a video that’s been making the rounds and stirring the pot online. “Saudi Arabia,” he continues, “Floyd Money Mayweather. I’m on my way.” Although it’s not clear when the video was made or if Mayweather is even being serious, such stories have a way of shaking up the fight world – and with good reason. The original Mayweather-Paquiao fight in 2015 may have bored people to tears, but it made a phenomenal sum of money. So lucrative was the Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown that even the insanely hyped novelty bout between Mayweather and UFC star Conor McGregor two years later couldn’t best its financial record.

Most analysts feel that the first match between Mayweather and Filipino Icon Pacquiao occurred far later than it should have – 2010 seems to be the year most wish both men had met in the ring. Although the fight probably made more money in 2015 than it likely would have five years earlier, the sentiment is that each fighter, and particularly Pacquiao, was past his best when they finally did get it on. To make matters worse, Mayweather won the bout in dominant fashion by being his usual defensive minded self. In other words, the match, when it finally did occur, proved to be no Hagler-Hearns.

Still, there has been talk of a rematch on and off since the first fight went down. Mayweather seems to be a man who craves the spotlight. Although he hasn’t fought since last January, when he engaged in a completely one sided exhibition bout in Japan, the money and press that would come from a second Pacquiao bout might pique Mayweather’s interest. While a rematch would be nowhere near as popular as the first bout was, there’s no doubt Mayweather-Pacquiao II would bring down an impressive sum of money. Pacquiao, on the other hand, is openly willing and eager to engage in a second fight with Mayweather.

As things stand, all sorts of reports are making the rounds at the moment. Some argue negotiations are in progress. Others argue that the footage of Mayweather is older and no longer relevant. And while the truth will obviously come in time, there’s little doubt that talk of a second fight continues to have the ability to draw a lot of attention. For the time being, however, Mayweather has not officially come out of retirement. Furthermore, Pacquiao is enjoying a career resurgence after besting WBA champ Keith Thurman earlier this summer.

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Anthony Joshua Trashes Lennox Lewis In Interview

By: Sean Crose

“Lennox is a clown. I don’t respect Lennox.”

The Lennox being mentioned above is none other than former undisputed, and all time great, heavyweight champion of the world, Lennox Lewis. The man speaking poorly of Lewis is none other than Anthony Joshua, Lewis’ fellow Englishman and former heavyweight kingpin. Joshua was being interviewed by Sky Sports when the subject of Lewis came up. His response seemed to catch Anna Woolhouse, who was conducting the interview, off guard.

“So am I,” Joshua responded when Woolhouse countered that Lewis had built himself quite a legacy. “It’s nothing compared to what Lennox is doing,” Joshua continued. “Nothing. Me and Lennox aren’t the same. My legacy is to sit back and enjoy the younger generation coming up. And not to really be involved, just appreciate what it takes to get there. Lennox is a liar. Me and Lennox are cut from a different cloth.”

Lewis himself responded to Joshua’s words in a tone that was less combative.

“Disappointed in AJ’s words,” Lewis tweeted, “but I understand that this ‘jealousy’ narrative was only fabricated AFTER I criticized them for Wilder negotiations. All of the sudden I’m a hater.” Lewis then went on to suggest that Joshua wasn’t the one behind the controversy. “Ask who benefits,” he wrote, “from such a simple minded narrative. Not AJ. Not me.” Clearly, the indication was that Joshua’s team was behind it all.

“I don’t blame AJ as much,” Lewis tweeted later, “as I blame the ppl around him that stoke the fires. I have remained at an arms distance from AJ to respect that he wants to make his own way. I’m sure he also gets sick of the constant comparisons to me over his entire career.” Lewis stated the reason there is an issue to begin with is because he felt team Joshua didn’t do enough to make a fight with Deontay Wilder before Joshua was stunned by Andy Ruiz last June at Madison Square Garden.

Yahoo’s Kevin Iole has stated that “Joshua’s comments toward Lewis are out of character, as he’s always carried himself professionally.” Joshua, however, has unquestionably been under a considerable amount of stress since losing to Ruiz, who most people simply saw as a tune up for the man on the road to major bouts against Deontay Wilder and/or Tyson Fury. Now that the express train has gone off the rails (at least temporarily), one could only expect Joshua to not be his best (at least until if or when he were to best Ruiz in a rematch).

Speaking of Ruiz, the toast of the heavyweight division is reportedly unhappy that the scheduled December 7th rematch between he and Joshua is set to go down in Saudi Arabia…something else that may lead to Joshua not being in prime form. No matter. Many are taking to their keyboards to claim it’s disrespectful for Joshua to go after Lewis – who has never seemed to have particularly sharp words for anyone since retiring from the sport ages ago.

Appearing willing to let bygones be bygones, Lewis offered the following tweet:

“AJ has my number if he ever wants to clarify what is being said in the media or show me where I’m wrong about something. My doors remain open to him, but just know that disrespect is not answer to his frustrations. Gotta go catch a flight now. Bless!”

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Navarrete Makes Easy Work of De Vaca, Sets up Quick Turnaround for Fury Undercard

By Robert Aaron Contreras

Super bantamweight champion Emmanuel Navarrete took care of business so efficiently Saturday night, he is already gearing up for a return to the ring next month.

Navarrete (28-1, 24 KO) banged away at Francisco De Vaca (20-1, 6 KO), leaving no doubt to who is the most fearsome 122-pound fighter in the world, taking out his challenger inside of three rounds at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.

With a blood spattered across De Vaca’s face, and his countenance sinking—his consciousness soon to fall away too—referee Raul Caiz Jr. was left with no choice but to step between the outgunned man and Navarrete in the latter part of the third round.

The quick knockout was impressive enough to convince Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum to bring him back in time for the undercard to Tyson Fury’s heavyweight battle:

“He is Mexican—he’s proud to be Mexican. Sept. 14 is Mexican Independence Day weekend and the best fighter in Mexico will be there defending his title,” unabashedly promoting his man.

Navarrete was locked and loaded from the onset. His massive 72-inch reach—compared to De Vaca’s 65”—was scary as ever. The challenger got a taste of it in the opening round. But it was in Round 2 where those freakish arms began oscillating from every angle.

The Mexican champion did a great job interchanging uppercuts—an uppercut, always the bigger man’s ideal punch. Even when De Vaca dug deep for short spurts, forcing Navarrete backwards, the taller puncher would sling left uppercuts from seemingly the opposite corner of the ring.

Then under 30 seconds left in the second period, Navarrete dropped De Vaca at the end of a three-punch combo: back-to-back uppercuts followed by a short, crisp right hand.

De Vaca to his credit got up and looked for a scrap in the fateful third inning. But more punishment was all he had to look forward to. Navarrete hurled his weight into long hooks—windmills that would make another heavyweight champion jealous. Punched into the ropes, a verbal warning from the referee could be heard to the backdrop of a stream of punches clinking off De Vaca’s dome.

Never short on heart, De Vaca did take himself off the ropes of a moment or two. But was back on the defensive as Navarrete’s punches refused to let up. Blood permeating along De Vaca’s face, his hands falling, tension rising as a result of a deadly summer in boxing, referee Caiz Jr. waved everything off 1:54 into the third round.

“I want to continue the tradition of Mexican boxing in L.A.” a beaming Navarrete said, celebrating punching in his second title defense. “I want to fill a lot of arenas.”

Next month, he will help fill a bustling T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with Fury fronting the bill.

After that? Bernando Osuna, for one, speculating on ESPN’s post-fight production Navarrete’s future at the super bantamweight limit, citing the champion’s enormous size and what seems to be a daunting weight cut.

For now however he is the best in the class.

Jesse Magdaleno (27-1, 18 KO) def. Rafael Rivera (27-4-2, 18 KO) via technical decision

The classic boxer-brawler mixup between Magdaleno and Rivera came to premature end in the ninth round when an elbow worsened a cut on Magdaleno’s nose that he acquired from a headbutt in the fourth period.

Judges Edward Hernandez and Fernando Villarreal scored the fight 89-81 and Zachary Young had it 88-82, all for Magdanelo.

Magdaleno ran rings around his opponent through the first three rounds, zinging punches up the middle between Rivera’s raised gloves.

Rivera turned the tide in the fourth round, biting down on his mouthpiece—barreling in in such a way that caused a gnarly headbutt—but closed the inning plugging away with right and left hooks.

The pressure continued in the fifth round. But Magdaleno’s feet were back under him for Round 6. And a left uppercut rattled Rivera in the sixth period. Magdaleno might have ended the show there if he didn’t get so overzealous pouring on wild punches.

It was a more sound attack from him in the first minute of the ninth round and a counter left hand put Rivera on the ground. Eventually a dazed attack from Rivera ended in an inadvertent elbow and referee Thomas Taylor again called time.

Consultation with the ringside physician spelled the end and Taylor sent the fight to the cards.

In the post-fight interview, Magdaleno summarized his night well.

“It’s just part of the sport, he’s an aggressive fighter,” he said. “This is boxing. I felt great. I felt strong. I felt better than ever. I took off the ring rust. We knew he was gonna come forward so we put our boxing shoes on and outboxed him.”

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UFC 241 on ESPN+ PPV: Cormier vs. Miocic 2

By: Jesse Donathan

UFC 241 is set to take place on Saturday, August 17, 2019 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California and will be available for purchase on ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV). On paper, this event is going to be one of the best fight cards of the year, featuring a rematch in the main event between UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and former reigning UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. The co-main event will feature the return of Conor McGregor nemesis Nate Diaz vs. former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in a welterweight showcase. The card will also include the long-awaited clash between middleweight titan Yoel Romero and the bruising Paulo Costa in what should prove to be a pivotal middleweight showdown.

The real question on everyone’s mind coming into UFC 241 is how Stipe Miocic is going to rebound coming off a loss by knockout to the man who took his title just over a year ago at UFC 226 in Daniel Cormier. Miocic had captured the belt against former UFC champion Fabricio Werdum, defending the title a record three consecutive times before losing to Cormier in mid-2018. Since that time, Miocic has begrudgingly sat out from competition awaiting a rematch while Cormier successfully defended the title at UFC 230 against challenger Derrick Lewis.

UFC 241 Stipe vs. Cormier 2 has been such an anticipated UFC event that fans on social media virtually overlooked last week’s UFC Fight Night 156 Shevchenko vs. Carmouche 2 card, with the mixed martial arts Twitter communities’ timelines spammed with UFC 241 promotional material well ahead of the Shevchenko vs. Carmouche 2 showdown. A curious phenomenon to consider from a community who by in large prides itself on being the antithesis to the dreaded “casual fan” stigma so often tossed around by today’s new generation of fans.

Which begs the question, exactly who is behind some of these social media accounts and just how devoted to the sport are they, really? One would think their free promotional work, based at the grassroots level of mixed martial arts fandom would be devoting their promo efforts to Valentina Shevchenko and Liz Carmouche instead of overlooking these accomplished warriors completely in light of next weekend’s event. Casuals … aren’t we all, though?

At UFC 241 in July of 2018, Stipe Miocic stood 6-foot-4 and weighed in at 242.5 pounds in his first match against Cormier that ended in disaster for Miocic and put Cormier firmly in the driver’s seat as one of the greatest fighters in mixed martial arts history.

The then challenger, Daniel Cormier came in at 5-foot-11 and weighed 246 pounds as the reigning UFC light heavyweight champion. When the bell sounded for round one, the two fighters casually met in the center of the Octagon, their gloves touching in one final show of respect before the champions got to work. The two would begin circling each other in the cage, the feeling out process underway as Miocic slowly began to cut off the cage by walking Cormier down.

Nearly from the start, Cormier looked to work the over hook in the clinch, a dangerous technique UFC legend Randy Couture used to great effect throughout his storied mixed martial arts career. The fight would soon make its way to the fence, with Miocic surprisingly trapping the former two-time Olympic wrestler against the cage in a show of strength and dominance not generally seen from opponents in a Daniel Cormier fight.

Its around this time Cormier noticeably switched to using an open gloved approach after fighting his way out of the clinch with Stipe. When a fighter’s fingers become extended, as opposed to closed in a clinched fist, the risk of accidentally or otherwise eye-gouging an opponent increases exponentially; a technique that has long since been prohibited in mixed martial arts competition though justifiably receiving renewed scrutiny in recent years.

The fighters would make their way to middle of the cage with Stipe noticeably getting the better of the striking exchanges early on. With some spunk still left in him, Cormier began to fire back on Miocic before his opened gloved approach brought a halt to the action from referee Marc Goddard. An instant replay would show Cormier lunging at Stipe with an open-handed strike resulting in his fingers raking into Miocic’s eye. This was a turning point in the fight where everything began to go wrong for the now former reigning UFC heavyweight champion.

Mentally, Stipe appeared to be out of the fight, his rhythm broken. Cormier would immediately begin to turn the fight around, looking quite a bit better in the standup department after the referee break in the action. Clinching up with Miocic, Cormier would expertly switch from an over hook used to control Stipe’s head and posture to an under hook, freezing Miocic and preventing him from escape as Cormier bombed Stipe with a right hand into unconsciousness. Referee Marc Goddard rushed in to save Miocic from any further damage as Daniel Cormier became both the UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champions of the world, cementing his place among the sports all-time greats in the process.

With Miocic well in control of the Cormier fight until he wasn’t, baring a quick finish from the AKA representative early on in the rematch things will likely begin to unfold in a similar fashion this time around as well too. While anything can and does happen in mixed martial arts, if the first fight is any indication of how the second fight will play out we can expect Miocic to get the better of Cormier from early on, the only question being how much dog is left in the 40-year old UFC HW champion to game plan his way to victory once again. Cormier is an intelligent fighter, not one simply prone to operate on instinct and overdrive, there is a method to his madness. An outstanding wrestler with a will to win, Cormier may once again reach deep into his offensive playbook and put the mixed back into mixed martial arts.

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